Panel G.08 — Higher vocational and professional education: what works?

Convenors Francesca Bastagli (Fondazione Agnelli, Italy)

Keywords vocational education, higher education, world of work, employment, inequality


Higher vocational or professional education programmes and systems hold potential for addressing low rates of participation in tertiary education and promoting its extension to those previously excluded. They are also expected to improve people’s employment opportunities through the acquisition of skills that meet the demands of changing labour markets, supporting both individuals’ outcomes directly and economies at the macro level.

A growing literature examines the different forms and arrangements of higher vocational education across countries, their evolution over time, and their implications for equity both in terms of tertiary education and employment opportunities and outcomes. Studies point to the role of different defining features of programmes and systems in supporting, or conversely hindering, such opportunities and outcomes, including for specific population groups (e.g. for women; those not in employment, education or training, NEETs; younger and older people) and sectors of the economy.

This panel seeks contributions from researchers and policy practitioners on the experience of higher vocational and professional education in different countries, with a focus on the policy factors that enable or hinder the potential for such programmes to promote access to higher education, including by previously excluded groups, and to support employment opportunities and conditions of employment for participants. Policy issues, that influence the effectiveness of programmes or systems, to be covered include (but are not limited to):

  • Theoretical approaches to higher vocational or professional education policy and primary objectives pursued
  • Status (perceptions and views) of different higher education programmes
  • Scale or size of higher vocational and professional education provision
  • Demand-supply skills gap identification and appropriateness of education programme design
  • Degree of focus and clarity of professional profile specification and vocational qualifications
  • Financial resources adequacy and type
  • Degree and type of coordination or integration with secondary schools and with other tertiary education institutions
  • The role of monitoring, evaluation and data.

Single-country studies and comparative analyses are welcome.

The panel aims to promote research and informed discussion of evolving provisions of higher vocational education to support the realisation of equitable and sustainable education systems and societies.


Guidelines and abstracts submission